What is the rule of 85 with retirement?

The Rule of 85 allows for early retirement benefits in pension plans. This sometimes controversial stipulation permits retirees to avoid pay reduction for drawing benefits before the age of 65 if they have worked for a sufficient number of years.

Early Retirement Reduction

As stated by Concordia Plan Services, receiving early benefits typically results in an annual 6 per cent pay reduction, but the Rule of 85 "eliminates some or all of the early retirement reduction for qualified members."

85 Calculation

The Rule of 85 formula adds the age of the retiree with the number of years served as a worker under the pension program. If the resulting number equals or exceeds 85, the worker qualifies for early full benefits.


Some pension plans require the retiree to refrain from receiving benefits until a certain age to qualify for the Rule of 85. For instance, the Concordia plan restricts employees from qualifying for full benefits until the age of 62. The age limit and other restrictions vary by pension provider.

2006 Ban

On Oct. 1, 2006, new legislation in the United Kingdom abolished the Rule of 85 to discourage ageism. According to Simon Moon of "This Is Money," the ban applies to "members of the local government pension scheme (LGPS) who are members of the public services union, Unison," and only to those who turn 60 after March 31, 2013.

Resulting Strikes

The ban led to strikes across the United Kingdom, including one on March 28, 2006, that included over a million protesters, according to SocialistWorker.org. The site reports a claim from Unison, a public sector union, that "nearly three-quarters of those affected under the new rules are women, most of whom work part-time." The protests brought efforts to phase in the pension changes.